The Malik Report
from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press,
Wings forward Riley Sheahan was part of a group headed to Cancun, Mexico. "There's probably not going to be much hockey talk," he said. "It's just going to be relaxation. It'll be nice. I think everyone is looking forward to the break. We don't get time to relax that often, so it'll be good to spend some time just laying low."
Defenseman Brendan Smith was headed to Turks and Caicos with younger brother Reilly, who plays for the Boston Bruins. "We'll both go and hang out and get lots of sun," Brendan Smith said. "It's a good time to get away from the game."
Defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said he, his wife and their 15-month-old daughter are "going someplace warm. But if I lived in Florida, I think I would go to a snowy place where I can ski."
Petr Mrazek and Stephen Weiss also were headed to Florida, Weiss to visit his wife's parents.
Red Wings coach Mike Babcock had some...amusingly glib things to say about the Red Wings' record going into the All-Star Break (27-11-and-9 after Tuesday's 5-4 shootout win, good for 3rd in the East and 2nd in the Atlantic Division after 47 games played, or 57.317% of their season played) as noted by MLive's Ansar Khan...
And just as he suggested on the NHL on XM Radio's afternoon show earlier in the day, the Red Wings' GM expressed mild-to-moderate satisfaction on the "State of the Wings" while speaking with Fox Sports Detroit's Keith Gave (via RedWingsFeed):
Update: Oh swell. Pulkkinen will play in the AHL All-Star Game on Monday, and both Sunday and Monday's games will air on FSD:
The Red Wings went into Tuesday's 5-4 shootout win over the Wild playing a little too footloose and fancy-free for my tastes, and instead of settling down and clamping down on a very vulnerable Wild team, the Wings got cute, got lazy and got their butts handed to them, dropping their 4-1 3rd period lead over the course of 7:10 of terrible hockey and hanging on from there.
Red Wings fans have been waiting to see the Holy Slapper for a while now, and Teemu Pulkkinen delivered just that on Tuesday, via a superb set-up from Stephen Weiss:
He's short, he's not physical and he's not particularly speedy over long distances, but the kid can shoot, and here's hoping many more one-timers go through helpless goaltenders.
Red Wings GM Ken Holland appeared on NHL on XM Radio this afternoon, speaking with Scott Laughlin and Matthew Barnaby. Holland issued something of a pre-All-Star Break "state of the team," and he also addressed Mike Babcock's future, stating something that you and I already know--that he and Mike Babcock are very likely to wrap up a contract extension for the coach, but that said extension isn't coming until the conclusion of the Red Wings' 2014-15 campaign:
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Now, while Holland would not discuss any specifics, it’s pretty clear in my mind that they could use a piece on defense if there’s anyone out there that makes sense and doesn’t cost the Red Wings a crazy price.
The ultimate would be a top-four guy but again, is that guy out there? And if so, is he available for a reasonable price?
It might be in the end that a five/six type blueliner is what Detroit ends up getting, if anything.
But what I do sense from the Red Wings is that trading a first-round pick is a non-starter and even a second-round pick won’t move unless it’s part of a package for a top-four guy.
from Chuck Pleiness of Red Wings Front,
Wings coach Mike Babcock has switched up his third and fourth lines.
He’s got Riley Sheahan centering Drew Miller and Luke Glendening, while Joakim Andersson will center Stephen Weiss and Teemu Pulkkinen.
For Andersson, it’s the first time he’ll play center all season.
“Working down low in the D-zone is the biggest difference I would say,” Andersson said. “Playing wing, on the wall, you have to get the pucks out and stuff. It’s stuff you’re not used to and breaking out of the zone when we rim the puck up the walls, you’re not used to that as a center, otherwise not too much.”
When Andersson had been in the lineup he was playing wing alongside Glendending, who centered the line, and Miller.
“The way we play we try and have all three forwards doing everything right,” Andersson said. “The first guy will play down low, as a winger you might not have as much responsibility to be the third guy. We have to have all three guys doing everything.”
more including Babcock on Mrazek...
added 12:33pm, from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
via Ansar Khan tweets,
Different look for third and fourth lines at skate. Glendening playing on wing with Sheahan and Miller. Andersson centering Weiss, Pulkkinen
Top 2 lines:
More updates coming as needed.
added 10:44am, via Khan...
Lashoff (scratch)-Kindl (IR)
added 10:48am, more from Khan...
First power play:
Nyquist-Zetterberg-Pulkkinen, Abdelkader (net front), Kronwall
Tatar-Datsyuk-Weiss, Sheahan (net front), DeKeyser
added 11:17am, Pulkkinen after practice...
from Ansar Khan of Mlive,
Tatar is the kind of good, young player who would attract much interest if shopped for a right-handed shooting defenseman, the team's biggest need. Some have speculated he could be part of a package to land Tyler Myers of the Buffalo Sabres. But even before Tatar's recent surge, one member of the front office called that notion "laughable," saying "we'd look awfully dumb if we did that."
Babcock sees a lot of untapped potential in the 24-year-old winger.
"As long as he keeps working on his details and is committed to doing it all the time he's going to get there," Babcock said. "That's the biggest challenge for a young player. What allowed you to be good last year isn't good enough this year and the years to come. You got to keep getting better if you want to be the best. That's what guys like (Pavel) Datsyuk and (Henrik) Zetterberg have done. So for our young players, they have great examples."
"He's always in a cheerful mood," Sheahan said. "He's always joking around. He's a good guy to be around. He's a lot of fun."
Tatar has many reasons to be happy.
"It's a reason to be smiling, to be part of this team," Tatar said. "My dream (has) come true to play in the NHL, so every day when I walk in here I have a big smile.
"I hate bad mood, so I always try to make people laugh and try to bring the energy and put a smile on everyone's face."
from Adam Proteau of The Hockey News,
If there is a hockey god, one of these years, Mike Babcock is going to get recognized as the NHL’s top coach. It didn’t happen for him last year, when he dragged the league’s second-most injured team to its 23rd consecutive playoff appearance; Colorado’s Patrick Roy won it then, and there was a good case to be made as to why he should’ve. Babcock also didn’t win it the season he led Detroit to a Stanley Cup championship; then-Caps coach Bruce Boudreau won it that year. Year-in and year-out, Babcock works with whatever lineup he’s been given – more recently, an injury-riddled roster with star players in their twilight, as well as youngsters developing their game – and wrenches the most out of it.
Despite leading the Wings to at least the second round of the playoffs in six of his nine seasons behind their bench, Babcock has never garnered enough votes among the NHL Broadcasters Association to win the Jack Adams. You understand why it’s happened – voters often look at the “which coach has reversed his team’s fortunes to the most shocking degree” formula (that’s the one Roy won on in 2013-14) – but sooner or later, we need to recognize the value of Babcock’s consistency as at least equal to the one-hit wonder coaches who may or may not have been the beneficiaries of extraordinary, unsustainable goaltending or another factor beyond their control.
About The Malik Report
The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.